I got to meet up with Regan and Zach at the SC Botanical Garden in Clemson this past weekend, and it was pure magic. From the perfect glowy lighting to the sweet, sweet couple in front of my lens, everything was any photographer's dream. These two met back in middle school, and according to Regan, she had a big time crush on Zach back then. Her feelings never really went away, and even as they parted ways and dated other people throughout college, she prayed that one day they'd reconnect. After 10 years of missing each other while not being single at the same times, they finally met up to catch up, and the rest is history. I can't wait for their summer wedding, and I'm so blessed to know these people and not only be able to call them my beautiful clients but also sweet new friends!
Through divine intervention, I just happened to be scouring Google flights one Thursday night back in August, dreaming about Spring Break in a place I've wanted to visit for a long, long time. It was a dream, but I didn't know if it would become a reality until I had more funds to make it happen. Out of nowhere, the flight prices started dropping right before my eyes. I began to refresh the page ended up landing a roundtrip flight from ATL for under $400! I'm the type of person that just can't pass up an opportunity like that, so I jumped on it and trusted that the rest of the details would work themselves out later! And I'm so glad they did! When all was said and done, I spent about as much on the entire trip as I would have for what the flight alone normally would have costed. And out of all the places I've traveled, Hawaii ranks close to the top. I've never been to a more peaceful, unique place. If you ever get the chance to go, I hope you seize that opportunity too. Read on for all my recommendations from my time in Oahu!
Where to Stay
I strongly recommend staying either at an Airbnb, VRBO or similar rental property of that nature. With Honolulu being a very popular tourist destination really at all times of the year, hotels and resorts anywhere on the island are insanely priced! On top of that, you have to consider what type of transportation you'll be using. If you're planning to get a rental car, some places charge high fees to park on site each day. We lucked out and found a place about 15 minutes from Waikiki that included parking. It was in a quiet, safe neighborhood just on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of the main tourist area, so it was perfect! Since the island is fairly small, you can get to really anywhere within an hour of driving (give or take for traffic), but I preferred staying close to Waikiki where much of the tourist attractions were located and then ventured out from home base as we wanted to.
What to Drive
If you know me at all, you know my dream car is a black, 2-door Jeep Wrangler. So we thought what better car to drive in Hawaii than just that! Let me tell you, it was so worth it! And after all was said and done, it was only a small daily fee to upgrade to the Jeep from a basic economy sedan. Definitely do this if you get the chance! Just picture you in Hawaii, driving around the most beautiful sites with the top off. **Pro tip: parking in downtown Waikiki can be very tricky. We drove around for a couple hours looking for parking. Save yourself the trouble and go straight to the Honolulu Zoo. There is public parking that is much cheaper than any other lots/garages you'll find even though it might be a couple more minutes of a walk to the shops.
When to Go
Hawaii's climate really stays pretty mild year round. You can tell this is true because there are many open-air breezeways in a few of the important buildings in Oahu such as the airport and the state house. There really isn't a need for these buildings to be completely covered because the weather is so gorgeous!! That being said, obviously more tourists are likely to go during summer and winter breaks. Going in February-March is a great time because the climate is warm but not too hot, and the island is bustling but not too overcrowded.
How to Pack
I highly recommend packing light. Since the climate is warm, you can get away with packing lighter and less clothing. It rained a little bit while we were on the island, so you may want to bring a rain coat. However, when I say rain, it's more like a soft mist that comes for about 5 minutes while it's still sunny outside and then goes away. It's actually kind of refreshing, and as the locals would say, it's a blessing from the heavens. You really don't need the distraction of a laptop or any fancy beauty products. I brought my flat iron and my curling wand for my hair and never used it because the Hawaiian air did wonders! Plus, being able to carry on a bag and not have to pay extra or wait for a checked back with the risk of it getting lost is an added bonus!
Aloha! And Mahalo for reading!
Morgan & Nick's engagement portrait session is just proof that some of the best things can happen when things don't go exactly as planned. After talking with Morgan about her and Nick's love story, I found out that they are big mountain people. In fact, Nick proposed to Morgan on Day #4 of a four-day hiking trip, so Morgan really wanted to incorporate that mountain feel in her engagement portrait session with her sweet fiance. There was rain in the forecast, a rockslide that threatened the main road to get up to this location, and to top it all off, the location was a little tricky to locate with modern technology! Once we finally reached our spot, fog had already rolled in and covered the area pretty thickly. But Morgan and Nick were so sweet and so excited to spend this time together, and I think the result was even prettier than we could have pictured! Enjoy this romantic session amidst the charming fog and even their sweet lil pup, Heidi who was such a good girl!
I love travel and adventure. I love seeing things from new perspectives. I love to find good food in exciting places. And I love making moments last for as long as possible.
Follow along for behind-the-scenes on Instagram!